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Eric Garner’s Death Tests de Blasio’s Fledgling Relationship With the NYPD

I asked Bill de Blasio if he thought something fundamental had changed, if nearly two decades of decreasing crime in the city was a permanent improvement. “You can’t say anything is irreversible,” de Blasio said. “I think we can say it is structural, however. Meaning, over three different mayors and five or six different police commissioners, we’ve seen steady progress. And a lot of the tools we have now—Compstat, focused deterrence, gang intervention, some of the technology we have—that’s forever, that’s not going away…We’ve made a lot of progress, and I think we can deepen it, if we get the relationship between police and community right again.”

That was last August, when de Blasio was a candidate. Last week Mayor de Blasio got his first big reminder of just how difficult the reality of public safety is, and how much depends not on objective tools but on the judgment of individuals. Eric Garner resisted arrest. Officer Daniel Pantaleo wrapped his right arm around Garner’s neck and wrestled him to the ground. The responsibilities aren’t equal, but the sum of those two choices was a tragedy—Garner died.

De Blasio’s reaction is being closely watched by cops. »

Bloomberg Is Flying to Israel to Protest the FAA Ban

Michael Bloomberg is steamed about the FAA's decision earlier today to halt U.S. flights in or out of Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv after a rocket landed nearby, so he's decided to stage a protest in a manner befitting a billionaire. "This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel," the former New York mayor said on his website. "Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel." Naturally, Bloomberg owns a private jet, but apparently he's so passionate about this issue that he's willing to fly commercial. Being the real-life Mr. Monopoly is tougher than it looks.

Sarah Palin Still Parodying Herself Up in Alaska

TMZ has the latest scoop on the woman who was once almost vice-president of the United States. Last week a Wasilla police officer busted Palin for driving her Toyota Tundra 63 mph in a 45 mph zone. Does she regret breaking the rules? No, sir! "I wasn't speeding, I was qualifying," she explained (as one would for a NASCAR race), adding that listening to Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" was a contributing factor in the incident. Palin ended up with a $154 ticket, which we're sure she'll pay, assuming she doesn't hear "Runnin' With the Devil" anytime in the next few days.

Here Is an Amazing GIF of Dante de Blasio Driving a Boat on Vacation in Italy

We interupt this day (week? month ...) of terrible news to bring you a very important moving image of 16-year-old Dante de Blasio steering a boat like a boss off the coast of Naples, his mayor dad in tow. Or, if you will, "Bill De Blasio e il figlio Dante in gommone a Capri," because it sounds even better that way.


This Guy Is Probably the Only Cross-Dressing Assumed Murderer Once Played by Ryan Gosling to Ever Get Arrested for Peeing on Candy at CVS

When we last checked in on Robert Durst, the millionaire NYC real-estate heir whose colorful past, immortalized in the Ryan Gosling film All Good Things, includes a trail of dead bodies and some women's clothing disguises, he'd moved back to the city to live next to a funeral home. These days, apparently, he's back in Texas (where he killed his 71-year-old neighbor and got off on self-defense) but just can't seem to stay out of trouble.


Try Not to Breathe Too Much Air Today, NYC

As you have probably noticed, our streak of pleasant summer weather ended today when a thick cloud of smog rolled into town. The haze isn't just ugly and oppressive — it's also dangerous. With the Air Quality Index at an unofficially "unhealthy" 110, the National Weather Service has issued an alert advising New Yorkers to avoid "strenuous outdoor physical activity" until 10 p.m. (People with conditions such as asthma or heart disease should be extra careful.) On the upside, this gives anyone who doesn't go on a run tonight an opportunity to feel smug about their healthy choice.

Mom Arrested for Letting Her Kid Play at the Park Loses Her Job

Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mother who was jailed for letting her 9-year-old daughter play, unsupervised, at a crowded park, is now out of a job. Harrell's lawyer, Robert Phillips, told Think Progress that his client was fired from her position at McDonald's, even though she was released on bond the day after she was arrested. A spokesperson for the fast-food chain declined to explain exactly why Harrell was let go.


Police Report Says Eric Garner, Who Died, ‘Did Not Appear to Be in Great Distress’

The video says otherwise, but an internal NYPD report claims the arrest of Eric Garner on Staten Island went relatively smoothly, except for the cardiac-arrest part. The preliminary document, obtained by the New York Daily News, quotes Sergeant Dhanan Saminath, an officer present at the scene, saying "he perpetrator's did not appear to be in great distress." Shall we check the tape on that? Nope, definitely full of distress.


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